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EGBA Pitches ‘Online Gambling 2.0’ To European Commission

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EGBA Pitches ‘Online Gambling 2.0’ To European Commission
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The European Commission’s guidelines on consumer protection for online gambling have failed to achieve their primary objective and should be replaced with new attempts at harmonisation, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has told European lawmakers.

 

Commission Recommendation 2014/478/EU was designed to establish a high bar of minimum consumer protection standards across Europe. However, varying national interests and the recommendation’s voluntary nature have seen it unable to achieve its primary aim, said researcher Dr Margaret Carran and the EGBA at an event held at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

The trade group said it wants to encourage a “high level of consumer protection” across Europe and see national gambling authorities provided with a “coherent cooperation framework”, something it believes the commission’s recommendation has failed to achieve.

Other aims include having the compliance of national gambling regulations with EU law “fully enforced” and for regulated online operators to be able to offer their services “without undue administrative burdens”.

The European Commission controversially announced in December 2017 that it was dropping all online gambling enforcement cases, leaving key decisions about compliance with EU law to the national courts.

As of now, the EGBA is calling on the commission to “urgently” review the implementation of its recommendation, according to a manifesto entitled “An EU framework for Online Gambling 2.0″.

“If we think they [the European Commission] wanted to achieve harmonisation, the recommendation has not done so. State-to-state regulations are extremely divergent. Even if regulation appears to be similar, in detail they are still very different,” said Carran.

She added that although the recommendation has produced some positive results, it has been unsuccessful in its “nudges” to encourage member states to enforce it.

Discussing the report with GamblingCompliance, Carran said: “This issue of inconsistency must be highlighted for both the consumer and operators.

“As of now there is no consensus on what the regulatory balance should be. Some countries might see enforcement issues such as advertising as beneficial to their state, but others do not.”

“There are various issues in creating a European consensus, but this is what is required in order to create consistent regulation across gambling markets,” she said.

Despite the recommendation being voluntary, Belgium went so far as to launch a legal challenge to block it, highlighting the difficulty of establishing any regulations that would be enforceable across the EU.

However, as recently as last month, Belgian Gaming Commission director Peter Naessens was chosen as the head of a CEN standardisation project that would introduce similar voluntary guidelines for online gambling reporting.

The project is seen by the EGBA and other trade groups as another method of pushing the European Commission towards harmonisation, with an eye towards European elections and a new commission next year.

However, Carran said she does not believe that “voluntarily there is any chance” of achieving continental consistency in online gambling regulation.

As it stands, consumer protection still varies greatly from state to state in Europe. Even fundamental issues such as minimum gambling age have not yet been agreed across the continent.

“We are experiencing a digital revolution. Online gaming companies have extra responsibility for players and consumers, especially for the population of problem gamblers,” said Jesper Kärrbrink, the CEO of Mr Green, also speaking at the event in Brussels.

“We need corporate leadership and regulations that reflect the digital world we are living in. We are one of the few industries that are asking for more regulation, our customers should have more protection than other consumers. This is not the case today,” he said.

Maris Bonello, head of player sustainability, research and integrity for Kindred Group, echoed Karrbrink’s sentiment, claiming a “practical level playing field for online gambling regulation is needed”.

The call for more regulation did not go unheard, garnering a response from European commissioner for justice Vera Jourova.

“It’s not very often to hear we want more regulation, but we have to do smart and proportionate regulation. We do not want to over regulate. But, online must not become a jungle,” said Jourova.

However, she was reluctant to commit to the introduction of additional European online gambling regulation, instead insisting that countries should simply apply existing laws, as the “rules are still relevant”.

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Compliance Updates

GLI to share Integrated Compliance Solutions approach at iGB Live!

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GLI to share Integrated Compliance Solutions approach at iGB Live!
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Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) has confirmed that it will be attending iGB Live! (5-8 July, Amsterdam RAI) with a sharp focus on supporting start-ups and smaller businesses on every aspect of their compliance journey.

GLI VP of Sales EMEA, Chris Davies explained: “iGaming continues to grow, and there are opportunities for companies of all sizes. We work with many start-ups and smaller organisations, and we have the expertise to simplify the process of testing and certification and support them every step of the way. Our Integrated Compliance Solutions approach has been meticulously designed to support our clients’ needs wherever they are on their unique compliance journey and wherever their business goals take them: we’re excited to share that approach with the digital gaming industry at iGB Live.”

Chris Davies added: “iGaming is a fast-moving sector with different expectations around speed of delivery and getting to market. The market tends to be a younger demographic and they want to move faster to maximise the opportunities that are there today. That’s both a challenge and an opportunity for our clients, and we have proactively prepared by expanding our teams across the globe to meet additional demand and help organisations get to market faster without compromising on standards. As is the case with land-based gaming, there are nuances in the various jurisdictions, and we help our clients understand those nuances so that they can be successful wherever they choose to go.

“We live in an increasingly global world and our global vantage point allows us to see opportunities ahead of anyone else. What also helps our clients is the fact that our EMEA team live and work in jurisdictions across EMEA. This means they have the local expertise and knowledge to understand the complexities and challenges of individual markets as well as the backing of a global team of experts who can deliver for the client. For us success is about helping our clients take full advantage of the exciting opportunities, avoid the alarming pitfalls and grow their businesses.”

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Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women and Social Affairs Seeks to Ban Sports Betting

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The Ministry of Women and Social Affairs of Ethiopia has announced that it is working to get sports betting banned in the country.

Abebe Haimanot, a representative of the Ministry’s Youth Personnel Development Directorate, said works were underway to get sports betting banned taking into consideration the issue of youth and youth personality development as well as various economic and social crises the sector is causing.

He said that although various discussion forums and movements have been organised to push for an end of sports betting, due to various reasons, such forums are not being adequately conducted.

Abebe further said that based on a series of surveys conducted by the ministry at various times, sports betting is identified as posing a risk to young people and youths alike.

The Ministry has started by classifying sports betting as gambling, the official said, which has multifaceted problems in itself.

“Gambling brings a social crisis that can take teenagers and adults into unwanted paths,” he said, adding that it also “discourages” anyone from working and changing lives, which can also lead to the disintegration of the family. Furthermore, Abebe said the sector also causes various psychological problems such as “depression and suicidal thoughts,” and called on all concerned stakeholders to take timely measures against it.

The Ministry already announced its plans to ban sports betting a few months ago, but 05 March betting firms requested the government to reconsider its plans before taking actions. The firms argued “betting is not gambling.”

“We are receiving a lot of negative comments from the community about sports betting. But that is not true. We are legally licensed by the National Lottery and we are also obeying our social responsibility,” Vegas Sport Betting Executive Director, Yonas G. Alemu, said.

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Compliance Updates

BGaming’s portfolio of online games is now fully compliant with the German regulation

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BGaming's portfolio of online games is now fully compliant with the German regulation
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BGaming is delighted to announce that the studio has implemented all the technical improvements required by the German market regulator and is ready to provide its iGaming content to the local operators.

BGaming’s portfolio of online slots is now fully compliant with the German regulation. The company has started supplying its high-quality games to partners working with German traffic and operating in the .de national domains.

After changes in the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling 2021, which allowed operators to provide online slots on a federal level, there were still several significant restrictions regarding the content casinos could provide to their players. The regulations related to the length of the spin, stake limit, auto-play, and other online slot performance.

BGaming has finished the adoption of its existing slots to all the required by German regulator guidelines and is ready to distribute its content to partners operating in the .de domains or working with German-located players. 

The requirements BGaming added to its portfolio of games for the German market are as follows:

– Five seconds spin length;

– No autoplay feature;

– €1 per spin stake limit;

– Game’s description in German language, where the RTP must be visible.

Alexandr Shavel, Head of Business Development Department at BGaming, commented: “Thanks to BGaming’s agile technical team, we could quickly define the needs of the local operators and help them overcome the difficulties of the German regulations. We aim to strengthen relationships with German partners and will continue supplying them with the best content compliant with the local law.” 

These improvements are expected to grant BGaming further content distribution to the German region and strengthen the studio’s position in regulated markets.

 

BGaming is a fast-growing game provider converting gambling into gaming. Thanks to an expert team and a player-driven approach, the studio creates innovative and engaging products featured on reputable platforms and 700+ online casinos worldwide. BGaming is the world’s first to support cryptocurrencies and offer Provably Fair games. Today the brand’s portfolio includes 80+ products with HD graphics and a clear user interface for every device.

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